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Full text of "The Hudson Bay route to Europe [microform]"

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tMcaocon hsowtion tbt chart 

(ANSI and ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 




jj /APPLIED IIVMGE Inc 

^ 1653 Eof' Main Street 

^S Rochester, Ne« York 14609 USA 

as (716) 482 - 0300 - Phone 

S (^16) 288 - 5989 - Fok 



(7^ 



z. 



THE 

HUDSON BAY ROUTE 

TO EUROPE 



& 



%OBERT ^ELL 

I. S. O.. M. D..LL.D., D. Se. (Cnnlak). F. R.S. 



Read before the Geographical Section of the British Aasociathn 

f . the Adoancement rf Science, Winnipeg, 

August 25th, 1909. 




wmmm. ^nsas job ok^amtmbnt 

WINNIES*. !•»• 



THE 

HUDSON BAY ROUTE 

TO EUROPE 



» 



ROBERT ^LL 

I. S. O., M. D., LL. D.. D. Se. (Cntfai). F. R.S. 



Read before the Geographical Section of the British . .saociation 

for the Adoancemept of Science, Winnipeg, 

August 25th, 1909. 




FRBE PHV-VS JOS DCF^. -leNT 



INNI»««, 1*0» 



^ v-w- 



88022 



THL HUDSON BAY ROUTE 
TO EUROPE 

By Raitrl BM, ISO.. M.D.. I L.D.. D.5c. (Caa/flt). F.R.S. 



.11 1 1 n.fc« ih« Rrlllch 

The question of a (eailb'e route to 
Europe, .rom the prairie province! ui 
Canada, by way of Hudion bay. la of 
the flrst importance to the Dominion, 
for aevoral reason*. Ii !■ the ihortest 
poMlble course from ths centre of this 
(roup u( provinces to Liverpool, an It 
follows approximately a segment of a 
treat circle between these points. Not 
only Is the total length the shortest 
but this route affords a grrater pro- 
portatlon of transportation by sea, 
with a shorter land haul than Miy 
other, Moi'e than 1,000 miles of Its 
water transportation is within ih» 
British po««'.sslonai Hudson bay hav- 
ing only one opening to the uceau 
may be conildt-red a inure clausum. 
The land portion Is shorter than iha 
by any existing lino, and It passes 
through an even country w I>h a very 
gen le slope towards the sea. The bay 
and strait are free from rocks and 
shoals and may be easily navigated 
by the largest ocean going vessels. 

The advantages of utilising this 
route have been discussed by publto 
men and the press ever since Canadi 
acquired the northwest territories 
from the Hudson's Bay company. On 
the other ha-^'l, a great deal of non- 
sense has been written and strong 
opinions have been glv^n against the 
practicability of the route, mostly bv 
people who had no personal or direct 
knowledge at the subject. The his. 
tory of the que<itlon and the various 
circumstances c.nneoted therewith, all 
tended to prejudice the public against 
it. A constant efFort was made to 
associate Hudson bay and strait with 
the Arctic regions. Although the bay 
stretches for a thousand r<iilos from 
south to north and the dl'.uncr. is still 
greater from the Atlantic ocean at 
the entrance of the stra.t to the wesi- 
ern shore of the bay, yet these watera 
do not anywhers reach the Arctic 
circle and the latitude of the southern 
extremity Is south of that of London. 
The writer has devoted about twenty- 
flve seasons to the exploration and 
survey of the shores of HuUson bay 
and the country lying to the south 
and west for long distances inland. 



liiiniiinn. wmm itv' Aus m. mk) 

He has passed through Hudson *tr«lt 
iiltie different times and haa snrreysd 
a great pnrt of Its northern coast. 

T.ie Uudnon's Bay company, which 
had buccesB/ully used the route in 
question for more than 200 years, re- 
garded thu buy and all the country 
extending thence to thr Rocky moun- 
tains, as their own property and were 
jealous of anyone Intruding on their 
preserves, who might some day dls- 
I'lte their monopoly of trads or their 
L .rnership of the country. Not only 
did thPlr officers and men and their 
supplies enter the country avery yaar 
by this route, but the ilrat milltanr 
force and the first permanent settler*. 
In what Is now Uanltoba. came in by 
the same route. Viewed from the 
Brlti-ih Islands, It seemed by far th* 
easiest and most direct way Into the 
Canadian northwest. 

Notwithstanding the fact that Hud- 
son strait and bay hive been navigat- 
ed with success for 240 years oy ths 
company, there Is no doubt that. In 
the old days of sailing ships, floe ire 
often retarded the piogress of their 
vessels, and much has t<e<>n mad* of 
this fact by the opponent* of the pro- 
posal to uie these waters as a high- 
way to Europe. But stesm navigation 
has changed all tii it aii4 ha» put a 
ne-v r rpect on the wfioi*- qtsestloi The 
writer was a pasaeng< in one (he 
company's sailing ship* in iM' .««efl 
a small scattered He d of lc< iirely 
stopped our progress In the wait 
Four years afterwards, when x *ias on 
board the steamship NS'pt«M' in 
about the same part of .ht Mrv^ we 
met a much worse field of *' mi 
steamed throuR-h It wltii ih 
loss of time. 

The delay In attempting t 
this route for commerce hn 
from several causes, amoi;? , 
the following: When It was , 
vocated as a modern commercla, ». 

the population In the interior »a «> 
small that there would have been -' 
little business to give employmer* t 
railway and line of steamships 
soon as the Hudson's Bay company t' 
ritories had been purchased and tli.- 
Canadlan Paclflc railway had beer -on 
structed. both at the expense of thi r>po 
pie of Canada, In orc.er to secure th. 
trad* of the northwest for the older 
portions of the country, It was argued 



THB HUPaON Bat RdUTB TO BUROPE 



tha* It would b« UBWiM to op«n • 

•hortar and mora dirwt rout* t/> 
Britain, which would divert tha vary 
tnda and traval wa wara to analouv to 
obtain for that railway. In rdar to 
•aeura thsio advanta<*a fur tha Can- 
adiana themielvaa. U waa tharafora, 
natural that tha propoaed rouia ahould 
bo oppon'-d by tha Hudaon'a Bay com- 
pany, th« Canadian Pactdo railway, tha 
manufacturara of aaatarn Canada and 
all othara, who thought their own p&r- 
tleular Intrroata ware menncad. Tha 
Canadian (ovarnmant wai alao oppoaail 
to It, fur the time beliif. In fact, the 
Hudaon bay routa had faw frianda or 
advocataa. Tha paopla of tha waatarn 
prairica, who wanted the route optn d 
up. wt-re nut (uRiclently nuineroua and 
had not tha naeaaaary political in- 
fluance to aacura for tha project the 
conalderatlon It deecrved. No rlaei ot 
paopla of tha eaatern parta ot tha Do- 
minion fait themielvaa called upon to 
taka any active tnteraat In the mattar. 
And ao thia fraat queatlon haa dracged 
Itaclf alone to the preaent time. In tha 
natural cuuria of eventa, the oponlnt 
ap of thIa channel (or trade, could only 
bacoma a living laaua whan tha rxporta 
bacania aufflclantly graat to forua thair 
way to tha aea by the ehaapaat and 
aaatoat routa. Whan thla ahall have 
baan accompllahed, a laf- proportion 
oC the Importa will, of courie, come tha 
aam* way and there will alio be a con- 
aldarabla paaaengar traffic. Tne peopio 
of Qraat Britain will aoon learn that 
tha incrartia In their own trade, which 
lAla route will afford, la a matter of 
much Intaraat to tham. 

To an outalder, the virtual obatruc- 
tlona placed In tha way of developing 
thia rout* by auoh maana aa I hav* 
■Mntloned, will appear tc have b3an 
ahort-aighted and unpatriotic; for, lat 
ua auppoaa that if, by any maana be- 
aidaa thoaa wUch have baao raterrad 
to, a large population could ba rapidly 
poured Into that v uninhabited re- 
gion, would thia • . b* the very beat 
maana of f rnlahi vi the deairad traffic 
for tha Canadian Paclflc rallw^y and 
aala for the tarlS-.irotected Canadian 
B«nufa'*turaar 

Small aa waa tha population of Mani- 
toba, there waa alwaya a clamour from 
that quarter for aome conalderatlon of 
the Hudaon bay route by the govern- 
mant. Thla waa appeaaed by aanding 
out a Hudaon bay expedition on aavaral 
occaalona and thua time waa gained, to 
the evident aatlafactlon of tha govern- 
ment of the day 

The writer accompanied three ot 
theae expeditions, ai naturalist and 
geologist. On two of them he waa also 
medical otricer, but he waa not asked 
to report anything as to the qu(«tion 
o( the auttabillty or otherwise of tha 
strait and bay aa part of a commercial 
route between our northwest terrl- 
torlea and Europe. He had, however, 
previously written a number of paper* 
on thla aubieot for publication, inolud- 



Ing one for th* geographical aaotlon of 
the Brliiah Aaaoctatlon (or the Ad- 
vancement of aclenca, yoric meeting, 
and accompojiiad it with a map.* But 
hia bioat complete caper In thla con- 
n >c tlon waa one entitled "A New KovH 
o Europe" (from the Interior of Brlt- 
Isn North America), published la 
Montreal, aa a pamphlet. In llto. Much 
o( the general literature on tha .iud- 
»on Bay route, which haa alnca ap- 

fHaa^,- J'. ''■"*'* "" 'he Information 
conuined In this pamphlet. 

In connection with the expedition of 
m«. by tha ateamahip Neptune, th* 
government arranged to aand out aix 
ITf** partlaa to malie meteorological 
and other observations, for one year 
?f^.- "'.'•'" «»"<«•. to be placed aa 
three paira on the oppoalte ahorea of 
Hudaon atrait. One pair waa to b* at 
tne entrance from the Atlantic, one 
P*lr on tha north and tha aouth aide, 
midway up, and tha third pair on each 
aid* of the outlet Into the bay. All 
uia etatlona were successfully placed 
wnere Intended, except the one which 

rtS! „? .S*"* '"'*" '•"'" «>" 'he north 
aide of the entrance. The weather and 
other clrcumstHncea prevented a Und- 
mg being effected In this vicinity, and 
.;. .V*"."".*" '"'"I ** Nachvah Inl'^t. 
oil the lAbrador cuaat. abo. '. arty 

^m*?o,?"KV* °' "•• •''•"^ Small, but 
S?f?f?"^5'* *o<xl«'" nouaej, each eun- 
ta nlng thjree good rooms, besldaa an 

SuVh:,!!'."" *"*'"« ''«"» "ne to tnrea 
outbuildings. Were erected for each 
r*''""- ;!"*• dimension timber, tha 
aawn lumber and the doora and win- 
dow, were r\ken out in the ahip, but 

5«J^*h *="'""« "^ "'"»» wore done 
fhi "* materiala had been placed on 
the ground. Only (rom two to three 
oaya were required to land the bund- 
le S^i"^t^'- ">« '"«1 »nd suppliaa i ' 
bunSIS^ "" • ^"" "^ '" •'•<'« »»«• 
The ofticara and men left at thaaa 
atatlona. kept aimllar mateorologtcal 
record* in uniform aata of booka. They 

f.£^' " "• "•*'■ ">«" sutionak from 
time to time, in order to maka tala- 
acoplo obaervatlona on the condition of 
th« atrait during the winter montha 

is« .'^"u*"!."' '*"• ■'•' y***' o' In 
1M6, freah officar* and man were aant 
out on the ateamahip Aiart to replac* 
Uia flrat paniaa, who war* then 
brought home. At the end of tha next 
year the second parties also returned 
by the sliip and ail the atatlona were 
otmoilshed, except thAt on Big ialand. 
midway up the north ahore. 

It la to ba regrKted that. In neither 
year, were the oCdcera in ciiarge of 
these various stations asked to maka 
reports on the results of their own ob- 
servations during the two whole year* 
and aa to tha Information they obtained 

*PubUsheJ in tha Proeaadinga of th* 
Royal Oeographicai Society, Now 
Monthly Seriea, roL 111. lUL 



I 



THl! HL'bHO.V BAY R.ltTTB TO IBrROPf 



I 



I 



from Ut« Eaklmoa. Thejr wtm, m«rr- 
Ix TMulrcd to h«nd iii tniir bjoits of 
rtcordi. afUr wbich ■ g.iieial rtuu-r 
purpoilln* to be baitd on all of thfiu. 
w«» picparril by lome on* tlia for 
publication aach yaar. 

In 11(7 tha Canadian Bovernmcnt 
»nt oi.t an axpedttlon by tha itram- 
ahlp LMana to l^^ th^ langth of tha 
••»»on of navlgai.^n In Hudiwn atralt 
bjr roaklnv occailonal vovagea from 
•"» '» •"•l, beclnnins a* toon aa It 
could ba antered and contlnultig till It 
might b« olo». d by Ice, aa at that time 
It waa kuppuaed by many that nuch a 
thin* aom«tlinea occurred, altbouch 
tbore waa no proof that It had ever 
nappentd. But when the Dluna reach- 
ed th« atralt (on the iSnd of June) th- 
entrance waa already quite clear r 
no lea In alsht. but our ahlp aoon • er 
warda fot antancled In Ice by fol- .j 
cloae to Bl( la:and. about half wt <, ■ 
tna north ahore, and It waa not ar 
talned whether or not ahe might have 
paaaed on Into ih.. bay by keeping the 
centre or the aouthern aide. The atralt 
waa found io be clear of Ice until the 
Diana left for Halifax late In the au- 
tumn. 

Th; writer wna a member of theDla.iii 
axpadltion and. by meana of a yacht 
carried out 'o Big laland on the deck of 
tha atcamer. he aurveyod a conalderable 
portion of the north ahore of the atralt 
which forma the aouth coaat of Bafflii 
Land. 

Agalnat tha Hudson bay route, It la 
urged that the aeaaon of navigation U 
too abort, because people erroneously 
auppose that the strait Is frosen over 
during the winter and that Churchill 
harbo-. on the west coast of the bay, 
the only natural port known to be 
•▼allable fo- large vess3la, la not clear 
of Ice for I imclent length of time 
each seaso: The harbor la, however, 
open for aL four and a half months 
during the mer and autumn and 
tbla period might be considerably 
lengthened by artlflctal means. 

From the land side, this harbor mav 
ba dilflcult to approach by a railway 
on account o( extanalve bogs or 
"muskegs." The writer In 1879 aur- 
vaysd the Churchill river, from a point 
» long dIsUnoa Inland, all the way to 
tba mouth, and also the harbor itself. 
I have entered t 'Is port by mating 
ships and I haJ the honor. In 1884 of 
piloting the Brat steamship that ever 
entered It. 

By prolonging the railway northward 
up llie oousL a salt • ..te h.u ..>•■ mny 
parhapa b« found which Is open durlnir 
a longer season than Churchill, while 
the total dlstanc* might be only slight- 
ly Increased. 

The name "Port Nelson" haa been re- 
Uined by map-makers for the mouth 
of Nelson river, perhaps because, on 
papar, it look* aa if a port should still 
DC tbara, but In raallty no port for sea- 
g ag vessels exists at this locality at 
tu« praaaat day. tt to raoordad that 



some of the^mall .e.rel. flrat sent out 
by the Hudson's Bay . ompany, lia 
years ago, we it to rii. ..mT^ lslan<L 
which la now Jus: above .hd tide water 
af the mouth of the river. The WrttJJ 
ban «.r.rta"',,l that thj land on thi 
wrjt .1,1" : d» ./. hay I, , .oioelf-ailv 

Iv^a't^'tZ- hi. ■/:'' 7''*'^- "PPi'-n • 

pir ienttryl*" "''"* "** '"* 

Thlrly yrarx aro. or In i,,9. i ,,. 

amined cartrully all the wtters in tha 

vicinity )f fJlliHms l.land ami took 
many «,iirHling.', .specially ar)und thU 
island itself, ,nd nowhsre 'ould I ilnd 

rhruut.'"-! ".'""•' '""w" "" '»•» Although 
the Island la now aboTs the leral of tha 
hlgheat tl.|e- It I. pr.,b»bi« that at iK 
time of RaUlaaon, the water M-a",,d i? 
would be twelve feet de per , king a 
total of twenty-two feet, whli : vould be 
qi. Ite au.M ,er.t for the ahlp. frequ "nfl^ 
Hudson bay up to the time of the ad- 
ventures of O-Ibervlll. In these watw. 
The Nelson deacends with a awlft cur- 

r?m '° I*'*" '•'■• '*"' »' «ha foot of 
Ullliitna la.ond :irirt form tt,l« .,iit,var.I 
the principal single discharge -f the 
''"■; «'•«/ '"'" tl, ■ bay. ailo. t|"e 
consists of a narrow, shallow and very 
crooked stream, running for inllea 
through the great mud flat, which All 
the estuary, and interrupt.-,! throui"- 
out by many large boulders ^ 

Tile InniT tihli)'» Hole ni ..i- 

York Factory In the mouth -Ujn 
^,.1-. '• ""' ''••P enough foi "aeii 

drawing more than eight feet. i.. gPO 
In'fh.'V'r »,his anchoraSe'to London 
in the Hudson's Bay company'a barniie 

deoth of wat r, and it was by the moit 

i« • .'^.'./'"' 'n»"»»«l to g.t out To 
th^ActoVy"" "' '*""'' ■»"" '"»» 
A very short outline should here tm 
fiven of the geography and th- Uad! 
Ing physical features of Hudson bfC 
•"f •'••»'»• ., The former StMy MO 
?i ?'.k'". *'/"t' *"• »"• being nearly 
Sid w'n'i?^ °/ "•* Mediterranean of th, 
?t. X h.^!"'" ^y- **'"^'' constitutes 
rnn.! » "" portion, measures 3S0 
miles from north to south by 160 miles 
In breadth and bus an area more Xn 
BO per cent, greater than that of Laka 
Superior. Having these large dlStn! 
sion, and being situated in the heart 
of the contlnpiit. Hudson bay is Sie 

of North America, and the writer 
long ago, suggested that it might ba 
..lore appropriately and correctly call- 
t? i?."''*°" **"' being, as It were, the 
Mediterranean of this continent It la 
separated from the ocean by a ven 
long strait and is really a mare 
clausum surrounded by British terri- 
tory. Roughly speaking, Hudson strait 
measures BOO miles In length by 10« 
miles In width. 

A very larno extent of country Im- 
mediately arcund Hudaon aea, on the 
east, the vouth and the west dratiu 



THE HUDSON BAT ROUTB TO EUROPE 



directly Into It, by upwards of 30 Kood- 
■Ised rivers und Innumerable emaller 
onea. The xreat drainage system tri- 
butary to the Manitoba lakes torms a 
supplementary basin, which derives its 
waters from all sides and sends them 
to the sea by a single trunk stream, 
the Nelson, one of the great rivers o! 
the world. The Saskatchewan, which 
falls into Lake Winnipeg, originates 
west of the Rocky Mountains, and has 
u course of more than a thousand 
miles. The W'inrlpeg river, one of the 
largest tributaries, rises near L,ake 
Superior, and Hows westward into the 
southeastern bay of LAke Winnipeg. 
The Red river, the most southern afflu- 
ent of Lake Winnipeg, has its source 
south of latitude 45 degrees. This, 
with the tributaries from the north, or 
opposite direction, gives a total north 
and south drainage of 1,600 miles. The 
limits of the basin of Hudson sea, 
therefore, extend from the centre of 
the Labrador peninsula west to the 
Rocky mountains, a dista.nce of 2,1U0 
miles, and from the source of Red 
river and the height of land near I^ke 
Superior, northward to Repulse bay, 
the distance being equally great. 

Hudson sea and strait are both easy 
to navigate. The former lias an aver- 
age aepin of Seventy talhums, deepen- 
ii.g to one hundred, tuwaras its outlet, 
'i'ne we.st end of tne strait iias a depth 
of 150 fathoms and increases regularly 
to ;iuu as it enters ttie Atlantic, ibeie 
are many good harbors on both sides. 
The bottom in all cases Is stiff boulder 
clay, affording good holding ground. 
The land on tne southern side rises to 
heights of from l.UUU to 2,&00 feet, and 
is more precipitous than on the nortii- 
ern side, the western half of which is 
not so high as the eastern. A few light 
and signal stations might be erected 
01. elevated points, wi.lch could inform 
passing ships as to the position of any 
Ice that might be la the strait. 
Both sides could be easily and effec- 
tively lighted at a very small expense. 

The country on the eastern side of 
Hudson sea is much higher than that 
on the west. From Cape Jones, on the 
east shore, where James bay widens 
Into Hudson sea, to the north, 
all the way to Cape DufCeriu, 
the east coast rises to a height 
of about 2,0UU feet, and in parts is 
quite precipitous. The west side la 
everywhere low, with shallow water, 
frun the southern extremity of James 
bay nearly to Cbesterlleld inlet. 

None of the rivers of the east shore 
are navigable except for light canoes 
between the portages, but some of 
those coming from the west, might be 
navigated during high water by steam- 
ers with powerful machinery. By 
such craft the Moose and its west 
branch, the Missinabi, might be 
ascended for 130 miles from the sea, 
the Albeny and the Attawapiskat, to 
the north of It, each for 250 miles, the 



Kapuskow, between these, for SO mlleai 
the Kkwan, Wenusk, Severn and the 
Hayes, together with both Its branches, 
the Shamattawa and Steel rivers, for 
about 130 miles each, and the Nelson 
for 70 miles above tide. There Is a 
rapid at the head of the tidal lagoon 
oi the Churchill, but a strong steamer 
might ascend this at high water, in 
which case, the river might be navi- 
gated for about 100 miles, or to the 
mouth of the Little Churchill. The 
Harrlcanaw river, which enters the 
southern extremity of James bay, 
might be utilized for 80 miles up from 
its mouth during high water, but It Is 
extremely shallow during the summer, 
I;i the central sections of this river and 
alFo of the Nelson, some stretches are 
navigable for steamers for many miles. 
In the event of steamships running 
into Hudson sea. the rivers I have In- 
dicated may be used for bringing the 
produce of the country to the coast 
tor shipment to Europe or elsewhere. 
The small harbors at tie mouths of 
these streams have an i verage depth 
of only about ten feet at high tide. 

The mean rise of the spring tides on 
the west side of Hudson sea U c;cv'..i 
or twelve feet, and is pretty uniform. 
but it diminishes somewhat as we go 
south. At the south end of James bay, 
when a northerly wind blows at the 
time of spring tide, the water some- 
times rises to nearly double the ordin- 
ui lieight. The greatest spring tides 
arc at the mouth of Nelson river, 
where they rise fifteen feet. The tides 
are low all along the east coaat. In 
the eastern half of Hudson strait the 
tides are very high, but towarda the 
west end they have diminished very 
much. At Ungava bay, just within the 
entrance and on the south side, some 
tides may rise to a height of fifty feet. 
At Fort Chlmo, twenty miles up the 
Ungava river. Commander Bolton, R 
N., found a tide of 38 Vi feet. At Ashe 
inlet, on Big laland, the average spring 
tide was accurately ascertained to be 
31 feet. 

The resources of Hudson sea and 
of the adjacent regions, from which 
exports may be expected in the future, 
Include timber, minerals, agricultural 
produce, fish, fur and oil. These may 
some day furnish considerable bjilnesa 
in addition to the great traffic passing 
through the sea from the regions west 
of Lake Winnipeg. 

It is probable that nothing but ex- 
perience gained after the opening of 
the Hudson bay route will dispel the 
bugaboo as to the ice and the supposed 
Impossible climate. Not only has it 
been supposed that the strait is closed 
during the winter, but that the sea it- 
self freezes across. A little reflection 
would convince anyone that this is 
quite impo-sible witii a bjdy of tait 
water 600 miles wide and a thou- 
sand miles long, within the 
latitudes of the British Islands. It is 
equally Impossible for this to happen 



THE HtlDSON BAT ROUTE TO EUROPE 



! 

,1 



to a deep channel like the atralt, can- 
nectlnff thla rreat sea and the Atlan- 
tic ocean, and having a hlch tide 
■wlnirlniT rapidly throuKh It twice eVRry 
twenty-four hours. The presence of 
so much open water and the lower al- 
titude, give Hudson sea and strait a 
milder winter climate than that of 
Manitoba or Minnesota. 

The writer ha» In his pus>ies9lon a 
record of the climate, ln<:IudlnK sea- 
sonal and periodic events, for nearly 
• hundred years at an Inland post on 
the Albany river. This gives an aver- 
age of ulx months of open water each 
year. Another record kept at York 
Factory for flfty years shows an aver- 
aye of fully six months of open water 
In the year. The difference In latitude 
between York Factory and Churchill 
harbor la only abmt one hundred milea. 
As neither Hudson strait or sea Is 
(tozen over at any time, they might b* 
navigated for six months or more in 
the year, but the season of navigation 
iAiouId only be reckoned ad the period 
during which vessels could enter a 
suitable harbor. 

Much hai been ascertained In the 
last thirty years, and a great deal had 
been previously recorded since the 
Danish captain, John Monck, wintered 
at Churchill in 1S19-16J0, to show that 
this harbor has an open season aver- 
aging four and a half months In the 
year, or from about the middle of 
June to the end of October, and there 
Is no doubt that a powerful ice- break- 
ing steamer, such as some of those 
used in Russia, could materially ex- 
tend the time of open water, both in 
spring and autumn, and the clear open 
Eea being Just outsliie could always be 
utilisied. We need not, therefore, de- 
spair of navigating these waters on 
account of the shortmss of the season. 

The fact that the strait and this 
great inland sea have been navigated 
by sailing ships with scarcely any loss 
for 240 ytars^ for the sake of the small 
business available, shows what might 
be done when a great carrying trade is 
in sight. If railways were built from 
the nralrie provinces to Hud.son sea, 
the farmers of these regions would be 
In as good a position in regard to a 
seaport as those of the interlake penin- 
sula of Ontario are in relation to the 
St. Lawrence. If the average price of 
wheat throughout the northwest were 
Increased by ten cents a bushel, ow- 
ing to such Improved facilities for 
marketing it in Europe, and if only 
one-fourth of our 200,000,000 acre« of 
good wheat land in the northwest, or, 
say, 60,000,000 acres, were producing 
this grain at the rate of twenty bush- 
els an acre, the annual value of this 
crop alone would be increased by $100,- 
000,000 or enough (at a moderate price) 
to build a new transcontinental rail- 
way every year. The combined value of 
all other products would i^niible this 



amount, and the value of the land It- 
self would be correspondingly en- 
hanced. These a()vantages, together 
with the many others which would re- 
sult from tlie greatly reduced rates 
for freight, would seem to Justify the 
Canadian government and people for 
at least making every effort to estab- 
lish thla line of transportation. 

The city of Winnipeg Is near the 
southeastern corner of the whole area 
of the prairie provinces, and yet the 
distance from It to Liverpool by the 
Hudson bay route Is 800 mllei less 
than by the St. Lawrence, while the 
saving of distance In favor of all 
other points is greater aa we advance 
northwestward into the Interior. This 
may be Illustrated by supposing that 
two travellers start for Liverpool from 
some point In that direction, one go- 
ing by Lake Superior and Montreal, 
the other via Churchill, the lattor 
arrives at Churchill as soon as the 
other reaches Winnipeg. Prom Winni- 
peg this traveller has yet to go 1.291 
miles by lAke Superior to reach Mont- 
real, where he will still be no nearer 
to Liverpool than the other is when 
he reaches Churchill. In other words, 
the traveller by Churchill saves the 
whole distance between Winnipeg and 
Montreal. By way of New York the 
distance Is, of course, still greater. 

It will probably be found that some 
of the products of the northwest can 
be profitably exported by the Hudson 
bay route, which would not pay «t all 
to send by the St. Lawrence. 

For more than thirty years, the 
writer has advocated the consideration 
of this route. In 1878 a paper which 
he had prepared on the subject was 
published In the report of the minister 
of the interior for that year. During 
the session of 1878-79. the Hon. 
Thomas Ryan called the attention of 
the senate to the Importance of this 
subject and stated his belief that a 
railway might be advantageously con- 
structed from Manitoba to Hudson bay. 
In 1880, parliament granted charters to 
two companies for building such rail- 
ways, and In the following year, one of 
them, the Nelson Valley Railway and 
Transportation company (of Montreal) 
appointed Mr. George Bayne aa Its 
chief engineer and caused a survey to 
be made from Playgreen lake to 
Churchill. The company also opened 
a right-of-way along Its line for many 
miles. 

The region between Lake Winnipeg 
and Churchill, which a railway would 
require to traverse, has been supposed 
to be hilly and rocky, but thla Is a 
mistake. In the wide valley of the 
Nelson river, there Is much good soil, 
consisting of a soft clay loam. 

The railway might be originally con- 
structed so as to be operated by hydro 






THB HTTIXOW BAT ROUTS TO BUROPB 



electric power, which can be furnished 
on a rreat scale by the falls und 
chutes of both the Churchill and Nd- 
son rivers and also from those alons 
the travelled boat route, via Hill, 
Steel and Hayes rivers. 

Once the sea route through Hudson 
strait has been proved feasible, raiU 
ways will carry to the coast of Hudson 
sea, not only the ffraln, cattle and 
other products of our prairie provinces, 
but also of some of the northwestern 



states, such aa Dakota and Minnesota 
Some kinds of farm produce, which will 
not bear the cost of transportation to 
Europe by the longer routes, may be 
sent by the shorter and dieaper one 
through Hudson strait Ifr. Tsaae 
Cowie suggesu that by establlahinv 
this British route from the vast in- 
terior of North America. Canada will 
be virtually giving a preferential trade 
to Great Britain as compared with 
other countriea.